“I have a dream” speech belongs to Martin Luther King, Jr., who tried to send a message about civil rights. In his speech, the orator used a wide range of rhetorical and stylistic devices that made the message quite expressive.
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Martin King uses such a stylistic means as an allusion that leads people back to different times; thus, he starts his speech with the words “Five years ago…”. Moreover, he utilizes anaphora “With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.” The other device frequently used is a parallel structure that creates a sense of collective intentions: “to work together, to pray together, to struggle together”. The concept of a dream in King’s speech stands for the vision of the racial progress in the U.S.; people are hoping to live in a just country. Therefore, metaphors are used: “searing chains,” “promissory notes,” “storms of persecution,” and others.
The poem “I, too” was written by Langston Hughes, who dedicated it to the segregation of African Americans. Firstly, the use of the pronoun “I” implies that all people are equal. The author also used extended metaphors such as “eat in the kitchen” and “when company comes” to expose segregation. The metaphors are the primary means of expressing the author’s will to suppress segregation. Furthermore, the author implements declarative sentences to express hope with a hint of anger: “They’ll see how beautiful I am, and be ashamed.” Here, the concept of a dream is expressed through the willingness of people of color to live a full life regardless of racial prejudices.
Therefore, comparing these two narratives shows that both Martin Luther King and Langston Hughes are hoping to stop racial biases and free black folks. Consequently, they use different stylistic devices to demonstrate their belief and hope that the future will bring about justice, and all the people will be equal.
Hughes, L., & Collier, B. (2012). I, Too, Am America (Illustrated ed.). Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.
King, M. L., Jr, King, M. L., Jr, & Publishing, H. N. (2020). I Have A Dream Speech. HN Publishing.